I hope they've got a good story for the NSA, on how they got their hands on that transcript of the phone call to the governor.
3015 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010
Trump White House mulls nationalizing 5G... an idea going down like 'a balloon made out of a Ford Pinto'
The US is about 475 times the area of Wales. Japan and Norway are about 18 Waleses each, South Korea about 5.
On the other hand, the US's GDP is about 50 times that of Norway, and its land area is only 26 times it. The US's population density is also higher. So that seems like a pretty poor excuse.
Nevertheless, this isn't going to happen. Since everyone (who matters) and his (they're all male, naturally) dog hates the idea, and since - significantly - no-one in the government is speaking up to defend it, I think at this stage it can safely be written off as a troll. An internal document, probably produced by some junior staffer just for completeness, that's been leaked. It was never in danger of becoming official policy.
They're not even trying any more, are they?
Dear Microsoft: you are not in the business of software development. By far the biggest and most important part of your work is maintenance of software that's been used for decades. So stop giving that work to your newest and most clueless developers.
The slowdown happened because the IT industry has grown far faster than the ability to train competent software engineers.
Or to put it another way: "Competent software engineers have repeatedly failed to deliver on their promises to create tools that would put the great majority of computing tasks within reach of any reasonably educated layperson."
Where are the quotes?
So, where are the quotes from the pope that support the hysterical, clickbait headline of this article? Where does he draw a connection, or even a parallel, between hard-hitting investigative journalism and "fake news"?
Or were you just desperate for a headline that would get people to click?
What he does say:
Nor can we ever stop seeking the truth, because falsehood can always creep in, even when we state things that are true. An impeccable argument can indeed rest on undeniable facts, but if it is used to hurt another and to discredit that person in the eyes of others, however correct it may appear, it is not truthful.
Example: "As POTUS, Donald Trump directs the employment of thousands of people whose job is to promote his agenda; his political allies employ many more, across multiple organisations. Trump has previously called the Pope's comments "disgraceful". Now here is Shaun Nichols, ostensibly employed by The Register, posting smears on the Pope's character and thoughts."
Every statement in the foregoing paragraph is well documented truth. Does that make the paragraph, taken as a whole, "true"? Are you, in fact, working for Trump?
Umm... the Salem witch trials were an all-Protestant affair, thankyousomuch.
The Crusades were a European war - specifically a land grab - in the Middle East. We've managed to keep making those to this day, without the blessing of any recent popes that I'm aware of. Religion was used as political cover, but it wasn't the underlying motivation, any more than "spreading democracy" was the motivation for invading Iraq.
The Spanish Inquisition was a secret police force used to enforce national conformity in Spain after the Reconquista, when there was a moral panic about Jews outwardly converting to Catholicism, but secretly continuing to be Jewish. This mattered because Jews would tend to favour the ousted Muslim rulers (who had allowed them a lot of freedom) over the conquering Christian kings (who allowed them virtually none). In other words: it was about political loyalty.
"Signing petitions with joke names" is a tradition - older than modern democracy itself.
The great Chartist petition of 1839 was signed Queen Victoria - several times, in different handwriting oddly enough - and quite a few other people of similar levels of improbability.
It's not about "looking authentic", it's likely just people having a laugh. Trolls, as we call them nowadays.
Re: Ain't American Politics Great?!
The GOP wouldn't need to force cloture if they were willing to, y'know, actually put a bill up to the vote that would attract some Democratic votes.
They could do it today. There's easily a majority in both houses for a straight DACA replacement. The reason they won't do it is because Ryan and McConnell are both terrified of pissing off their own hardliners. They'd rather keep their own fractured caucuses together, and keep the Dems out, than pass a law that actually has majority support.
Re: Evil Witch
I'm not going to defend "orange", but "buffoon" is not a comment on appearance.
As to "we'll see an end to references" - look, you're not arguing with a monolith. I'm not going to try to answer for every person who detests Trump. Some will undoubtedly say thing I won't defend. I don't see why that should stop me from pointing out when others' criticisms are also indefensible. (E.g. see above, vicious ad hominem assaults on snopes.com.)
Re: Fake news is fake news
That's the biggest part of the problem, sure, but you're overlooking the multiple layers of obfuscation and laziness involved. It's not (just) Facebook that's misrepresenting stuff as "news": it's also Facebook users, and indeed the news sources themselves.
The economics of news reporting is fundamentally broken. (Basically: there is no plausible way to make money out of reporting facts. People think that facts are valuable, but only opinions can be monetised. Therefore there's a strong structural incentive to present one as the other.)
That's not actually Facebook's fault, although they're certainly not doing anything to improve matters.
Re: Credit reference agencies need reigning in too.
@Doctor Syntax: to file a libel suit in the UK, you need to be ready and willing to meet all your own legal expenses. To anyone who doesn't have a six-figure bank balance, it's not really on the cards. (Though I suppose you could use sponsorship or crowdfunding, if you think it'll work.)
This is pretty much by design: the law protects rich people, because obviously they need it more than us plebs.
'WHAT THE F*CK IS GOING ON?' Linus Torvalds explodes at Intel spinning Spectre fix as a security feature
So Intel's idea of a security fix is to take their buggy product, and turn it into, effectively, two buggy products. One with the original bug unfixed, the other with all new bugs waiting to be identified, and way lower performance to, if you'll pardon the pun, boot.
Yeah, no thanks. Even Microsoft knows better than that.
Of course the Russians have been watching UK (and other) forces where they've been deployed. They wouldn't be doing their job if they weren't.
And we've been watching them - in Chechnya/Dagestan, Georgia, Ukraine, Syria...
I'm not worried about the Russian army. It's big, but it's crap. And you have to reckon that in any scenario where the Russian army is fighting the British army, the Russians will be distracted by the need to cover their arses against the French, other Europeans, the Chinese, the Americans, and worst of all, against their own central Asian republics (think Chechnya). The British have less to worry about on those lines, simply because they've got a lot more friends. (The Norwegians aren't about to invade Shetland, the French aren't going to seize Guernsey, the Irish won't try to reunify their island by force, even the Scots aren't going to unilaterally declare independence just because the British army happens to be busy elsewhere. The Russians can't be anything like so sanguine about the edges of their territory.)
And that is why the Russian cyber force is a threat to be reckoned with: it's actually world class, unlike their armed forces - and it's playing offense, which is always way easier than defence.
Re: A question for all my fellow (and fellowess) El-Reg readers.
Apart from anything else: it is far from certain that a central biometric database would actually help solve crimes.
Take fingerprints, for instance. Historically, fingerprints have been taken from people who've been arrested. When a print is taken from a crime scene, it's then compared against prints previously taken from people who've been arrested in the same general area. A few thousand, tops. That's - actually a pretty good way of compiling a shortlist, right there.
But - you may be interested to learn - in the very few systematic trials of fingerprint identification, there has been a shockingly high rate of wrongful matching. Where human experts have pronounced definitively that a fingerprint belonged to someone it did not, in fact, belong to. So if you scan a blurry, incomplete fingerprint against a database of 60 million suspects, you will get false positives. Probably lots of them.
Other biometrics are the same. When an expert pronounces in court that there's only a 1 in 100,000 chance that the suspect matches this biometric by chance, what they're really saying - in a country of 60 million people - is, "there are 600 people in the country who would register positive to this test. So if this is the strongest evidence the prosecution has, there's roughly a 1 in 600 chance it's the right person." Of course that's not what the prosecution says, or what the court hears - what they hear is "there is a vanishingly small chance of error". But what they mean is "there is a near certainty of error".
As a way of confirming that someone is who they say they are - biometrics are fine, up to a point. As a way of finding one person in a large population, they're hopeless.
Re: It's a bit of a snicker, really.
Don't you think those 62 million deserve some credit?
Absolutely, yes. The Russian interference was a drop in the bucket. But the election was so close, you can plausibly claim this drop swung it.
Of course it doesn't mean anything without the tens of thousands of other drops, all of which you could claim also swung it.
Most notably, I would point to the media's abject failure to stand up to Trump. We hear a lot about how they were all "in the tank" for Clinton, but that's bullshit. The leader writers all favoured her, because it's their job to think about these things, and anyone who spent more than three seconds thinking about the candidates could only, rationally, come to one conclusion - but the news writers have a different set of incentives, and Trump played them like a Fender stratocaster. Every time he launched some drivelling Twitter rant, he got a million dollars' worth of publicity for free. He's still doing it today.
Sure, Clinton's campaign made some truly howling mistakes. Some that even I could see, even at this distance at the time. But it was the media that lost it for her.
Re: "and they want to worry about/blame Russians!!??"
One of the most problematic aspects of this story is the fact that Twitter has deleted all the evidence. So now, if we want to check what, specifically, these accounts said - we can't.
This is a reflection of what makes Twitter (and other 'social media' platforms) much sneakier than conventional media. If something is broadcast on Radio Free Europe, anyone can record it, listen to it, play it back later - that means you know what was said, and you have all the information you need to counter it. But on Twitter or Facebook, there's no telling what a given person has been exposed to. It's hard to counter propaganda that you can't even see.
Doubly hard, of course, when your audience has been told that everything you say is lies.
Re: Fix it in-browser
"Disable the code that renders domains as normal words" looks like a pretty good solution to me.
I've suggested in the past, requiring a separate browser window for each character set you want to use. So if you want to browse in English, Russian and Hebrew simultaneously, you'd need three separate windows. Why not?
Re: "the company is hiring expensive consultants and discarding their opinions."
Consultants are just that: consultants. They're not managers. They can advise and suggest and recommend, but in the end the decision belongs to the management. Who are the ones who will have to live with it.
Of course a lot of recommendations will get binned. Otherwise you might as well get rid of the management team entirely, and just hire consultants to make every decision.
"Just" pattern matching? Putting "just" in front of something doesn't make it simple.
The computers have no idea what the words actually mean. The definition doesn’t matter. To the software, it’s all matrices of numbers linking similar strings of characters.
How exactly does that differ from a child learning these facts in school?
OK, so the computer identifies a string "Mexico". As it's exposed to more and more inputs, it learns that certain ideas are, more or less closely, associated with this string. It will learn that there is a "Mexican government", and "Mexican president", and "Mexican border" and people and history and whatnot, and from this it will know to categorise "Mexico" alongside "the US", "Canada', 'China' etc. in the class of things that are called "countries'. More specifically, it will learn of the things that are associated with Mexico in particular: the Spanish language, Aztecs, burritos, tequila, Zorro. As it grows more sophisticated and discriminating in parsing its inputs, it will note that many American sources talk very negatively of "Mexican immigrants", and of NAFTA, and much more.
By that time, I'd say its "idea what the words actually mean" would be better than that of most humans.
I realise that this level of understanding has yet to be demonstrated. But I'm not seeing any qualitative jump in getting from here to there. It's "just" a matter of feeding in more data.
Type "what country borders California" into Google, and it returns the correct answer highlighted in the top search result. Is that AI?
(Answer: no, it's general knowledge, exactly what Google excels at. But it demonstrates that it's parsed the question correctly, and is able to identify the information that constitutes "the answer".)
Re: I'm failing to see how this is Just Eat's fault
It's JE's job to make sure that people who receive personal information, like phone numbers, are properly trained and aware of what they can and can't do with it. Simple as that, really.
if the driver breached those rules, then they need to accept responsibility for that breach. That includes both disciplining and/or retraining the driver, and making appropriate reparation to the customer. And, of course, recording it as a procedural failure and identifying ways to stop it from happening again.
What surprises me somewhat is that this is news - outside of JE's management, anyway. I'd be very surprised if it's the first, or last, time this has happened.
You're going to keep posting this story, and I'm going to keep correcting it.
There is no such thing, in law, as "warrantless spying on citizens". That's because "citizens" cannot be defined as a "protected class". The 14th amendment explicitly forbids that.
If you want to outlaw warrantless spying, then great. But if you allow for it to happen at all, then it can happen to anyone, regardless of citizenship. The only thing that matters is where you are, not who.
Re: I'm wondering about non-working days..
More than 48 hours. If you make the discovery at 4:00 on a Friday afternoon and don't report it before you go home, then 8:00 the following Monday is a whole 64 hours away.
And if there's a public holiday, of course...
And yet it can't mean "72 working hours". Assuming a standard 8-hour day, that would be nine days; if the discoverer is only working part-time, it might mean several weeks. And I don't think TPTB would stand for that.
So I think it has to be "72 hours by the clock", and if you do make the discovery at 4:00 on a Friday - unless you want to work that weekend - you'd better be able to show that you sent the email about it before you went home that day.
Moral: don't do reidentification research on Fridays.
Re: If you build them...
The question is, how long will Ford undertake to keep selling replacement batteries?
If the answer to that is a long time, then depreciation will be very low - much better than most of the conventional range, because there's so much less maintenance needed on an electric car. The battery is the only thing that's likely to become obsolete quickly, and if Ford will undertake to maintain that, the car should be able to go for decades.
Re: Turning down the transfer offer
What exactly is the point of typo-squatting, if you're going to give up the domain without any fight the moment you're asked anyway?
"Benefits that may accrue" - sure, but there's no suggestion anyone was using the domains to, e.g., phish or grab information improperly. I feel sure HMRC's press department would have mentioned it if they were.
I look forward to hearing more of Rita, but I wouldn't make ass-umptions about whose side she'll be on long term. She could easily be a side all by herself.
As mentioned above, PA to the capo di capi is an extremely powerful position. If Simon is wise, he won't cross her. Though the bright side is, she's unlikely to cause him much trouble, just provided she always gets what she wants.
Re: They will never work in an urban environment.
Holding up a human-driven car for fun invites an awkward interpersonal interaction whereas holding up a robot car would be like swearing at the self-service till in Tescos;
You're assuming there's no human in the car. Seems to me that's not a safe assumption.
Honestly, the whole "Holborn problem" as expounded here is fraught with unstated assumptions. Technology can't do everything perfectly, therefore it's doomed. The technology isn't fully developed yet, therefore it's doomed. The technology must act the way I imagine it acting, therefore it's doomed. Traffic happens, therefore it's doomed.
I shall just thank car manufacturers for not putting Christian Wolmar in charge of their R&D departments, and continue watching progress with interest.
Re: Not panicked yet
I wrote many tools in my 45 years in IT. They made me very efficient - and sometimes I looked like a magician achieving the "impossible". The tools were all usually ignored/discarded by the people whose jobs could use them to great effect. The reasons were: they hadn't the experience to understand why they were more accurate than existing tools; they didn't enhance their CV like less accurate external supplier tools did; they didn't see any reason to invest time in learning how to use them.
Without wishing to contradict you, because obviously I know nothing about these particular cases - I wonder if you've considered an alternative hypothesis?
Maybe your tools didn't work for them. That is to say, maybe something about the workflow or the environment or the requirements changed, and your tools no longer fit. If you'd still been there, you would have tweaked them and carried on - but no-one else was capable of doing that, because they were your tools and only you understood them well enough.
That's kinda my point. In my experience, every job is (at least slightly) different from every other job. If you take a tool developed for one situation and simply apply it to another one - or even the same one, a year or so on - without at least some tweaking, then it won't work, at least not as well as it did in its previous installation.
That "tweaking" is what's going to keep many of us in work for a while yet.
Not panicked yet
I don't know about you, but I use software to automate my own job. I have a whole bunch of tools that I wrote, because I'm the only one with the detailed domain knowledge to know exactly what they have to do.
(There exists a company, which I used to work for, which is supposed to write this software. They provided the basic engine I use, and in theory they're supposed to add tools to do required tasks. But they are, not to put too fine a point on it, hopeless. All their contracted time goes to "fixing cock-ups in their own code", there is no way they could "write and test the new stuff that I actually need"; and if they did, not only would the code be hidden from me, but I'd still have to test it myself. Screw that.)
I don't own the software I write - my employer does - but my employer pays me to produce the output I do, which I get by running and maintaining these tools.
Now, of course this won't be the case for everyone. But I think it will be a much more common story than these researchers realise. If the economics of these "robots" are anything like those of the software we've come to know and love in every other context, then the "off-the-shelf" product will be pretty much useless in any given real-world situation: it will require someone like me to spend lots and lots of time making it work. And no, we won't be able to support very many instances at a time, because each deployment is different. That's why Oracle employs 130,000 people.
It seems to me that robots are just tools. When (and only when) AI passes the point of human intelligence, then we'll be in trouble - but by that time, so will the people who think they own those AIs, so we'll all be in the same boat.
Re: Could you
The notion that the Treaty of Versailles was unfair to Germany was a lie invented by the National Socialists in Germany to create a sense of resentment which the Nazis exploited.
"Fair" requires a value judgement. As such, it cannot be called "a lie" unless we have explicit agreement on what constitutes "fairness". Your uncompromising use of the objective term "lie" to describe an inherently subjective claim "fair" is either silly or disingenuous.
The most contentious clauses were about reparations, which were orders of magnitude larger than anything that had ever been imposed before, and were impossible for the crippled German economy to meet. (Not unlike the terms the Germans themselves recently imposed on the Greeks.) The French eventually forgave the debt of Austria, Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria, but they held out for full repayment from the Germans. Was that "fair", in your understanding of the word?
Then there was the loss of Germany's colonies - not given independence, but ceded to the French and other allies. This was a substantial hit to the German economy at a time when it was already hobbled by the drain of the war effort and the loss of manpower, and it was being asked to pay billions of dollars in reparations. Was it fair to load all those strains on the economy at the same time?
At the end of the day, "fair" is what people agree it is. If one side feels so aggrieved that it's willing to fight - then the arrangement isn't "fair" enough, no matter how much the other side may like it.
Re: get stuffed FBI
So, what if a bad guy steals your phone? He's got physical access too.
Then that bad guy has (potential) access to your stuff, obviously. How is that different from him stealing your wallet?
The point is that in that scenario, you know your phone has been stolen, and from that point you should assume the clock is ticking, and it's only a matter of time before everything on it is available to whoever has it. You should take countermeasures. No different from cancelling your credit cards when you lose your wallet.
Not a heretic just completely missing the point of compromising encryption.
No, I understand that. But for a long time, every security advisor would have told you "when the enemy has physical access to your hardware, and unlimited time in which to operate - it's over. There is no defence from that position." As I see it, that's an inherent limitation in digital encryption, it's one I've always taken for granted.
Mind you, I also assume that if the NSA really wants to read the contents of my phone or hard drive, they can. Which is why I don't keep my plans for world domination on either of them. That's just common sense, IMO.
So...your position is that we should just trust the government to do what's right and legal?
No, my position is that the feds have a difficult job to do, and you should assume they will use every means to make it easier. That includes legal, technical and political means. If you don't give ground and meet them at some point, then they will press for more and more intrusive tools and rights, and they will get them, because politicians will see - correctly or not - that you are the ones who are being unreasonable.
If you don't give them an inch, they will take a mile.
Re: get stuffed FBI
The 4th amendment explicitly allows the executive branch to help itself to your papers and effects, provided it gets the assent of the judicial branch first. We're not talking here about J Edgar'ing up internet traffic, we're talking about unlocking devices that have been physically seized by the Feds, but are locked down in such a way that they cannot reasonably exercise their constitutional rights.
Call me a heretic, but I don't see quite what the fuss is about. A backdoor that requires intrusive physical access to the hardware - would not compromise your constitutional rights.
Re: Unfortunately congress is dysfunctional
Currently, the legislative branch is rendered impotent by the bitter factionalism that makes it politically toxic to try to reach any kind of accommodation with "the other side".
I'm not sure how much of that can be laid at the door of the executive branch. Certainly Trump personally has played a part, but more in his capacity as a media whore and talking head than as president. Opposition polarized pretty badly under Clinton and Bush, then the Republicans went absolutely apeshit against Obama, and the sentiment has been pegged in that position since.
Whether it would have been this way under a sane Republican president I'm not sure, but I'm inclined to suspect it wouldn't have been that different. Certainly the Reps showed no sign of softening towards Hillary, when they thought she was going to win - and I didn't notice the Dems giving much quarter to Cruz or Rubio either.
I'm not sure what the cure is, or if there is one. But if there is one, it will definitely involve major campaign finance reform.
Re: "The floor of the Senate"
They were "IMPLEMENTing and ENFORCing". No need to shout, by the way.
They were implementing and enforcing the Telecommunicatons Act of 1996, which gives as its aim:
to provide for a pro-competitive, de-regulatory national policy framework designed to accelerate rapidly private sector deployment of advanced information technologies and services to all Americans by opening all telecommunications markets to competition
Now, you can quibble about the FCC's interpretation of its duties, and you can certainly argue about the appropriateness and proportionality of its requirements. But to imply that they had no mandate to do it because Congress had not legislated on the subject is just plain false.
"Malicious Microsoft Word document"?
Why is it even possible, in 2018, to do this?
I must confess to being something of a heretic on Word macros. I do think they have a legitimate use.
But if Microsoft simply updated Word so that it became impossible to run macros on any machine other than the one they were compiled on - what would be lost?
If modern kids learn from internet porn, then pubic hair is still going to come, sorry, as a shock to them.
That's the real problem with the stuff - it's got the most dreadful people in it - the kinds of oiks who feel the need to shave their nethers. And the things they do to one another - well, let's just say that if you get your sex education that way, you're going to end up with some very strange ideas about how procreation works.